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Champions Promoting Power Systems Around the World

Power Systems Champions


Excitement surrounding IBM Power Systems* technology has spread to all corners of the world, thanks in large part to the Power Systems Champions. This year, IBM named 60 Champions from across six continents (still working on Antarctica).

Recognizing that IBMers comprised only a small part of the Power Systems team, IBM created the Champions program in 2011 to recognize the evangelism efforts of clients and consultants. Champions are typically nominated by their industry peers; they hold the title for one year, with an opportunity to renew the honor the following year.

While the bulk of these IBM experts are returning Champions, 22 are new to the role. Whether they specialize in IBM i, AIX*, Linux* or a combination of OSes, they bring their knowledge and passion to every conversation about the Power Systems platform.

IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition caught up with 25 members of the 2018 class to get their thoughts on the future of the platform, both locally and globally. Read on to learn how they’re living up to their Champions title.


Torbjörn Appehl
Regional manager Nordic, ARCAD Software
Torbjörn Appehl meets regularly with IBM i users from finance, insurance and manufacturing industries, among others. In addition to his role with ARCAD, Appehl serves as chairman for COMMON Sweden and marketing director for COMMON Europe. He organizes conferences and webinars, as well as speaking daily with clients and colleagues in the industry. He believes this interaction is vital to the survival of the platform. “What Champions and others in the community do is crucial for IBM and its business partners,” he says. “It helps ensure that clients continue to rely on the best application and database server on the planet, cloud solutions included.”


Jim Buck
CEO and co-founder, imPower Technologies LLC
Jim Buck specializes in helping companies onboard developers new to the IBM i platform, as well as keeping seasoned RPG programmers current on the latest methodologies.

Buck taught IBM i topics in the college environment for more than 15 years. In 2016, he left his faculty position to found imPower Technologies LLC, which provides education directly to IBM i clients surrounding the OS and associated languages.

Having worked on the IBM i platform since 1990 in several capacities, he continues to be amazed by the platform’s dependability and continued innovation. “I feel that this hardware and software combination is the best value on the market. Companies and individuals need to hear that the IBM i OS isn’t ‘old’ and that there’s no better value for a company to run its business on.”


Lionel Clavien
CTO and co-founder, InnoBoost SA
Lionel Clavien co-founded InnoBoost two years ago. He also works as an account manager for Groupe T2i, a Switzerland-based IBM business partner. With InnoBoost SA, Clavien builds packaged solutions, running on ppc64le—both on premise and in the cloud—integrating many leading-edge technologies to create new solution addressing. He advocates in his community for the use of Linux on POWER*, PowerAI, and other new POWER workloads such as open-source databases and Nutanix. He’s also a proud member of the OpenPOWER Foundation, the first in his country. He co-founded the organization’s Physical Science Workgroup and currently chairs the Machine Learning Workgroup. “For most enterprise workloads, POWER is the best technology, but too few people know about it,” he says. “This needs to change, and ISVs need to help.”


Koen Decorte
Owner and founder, CD Invest
Koen Decorte specializes in IBM i applications. Through his small consultancy in Belgium, he leads a variety of programming projects for clients on IBM i, as well as Linux. His customers operate in myriad sectors and range from small companies to large enterprises. “We’re always pioneering with new and emerging technologies,” he says. One of his award-winning projects is the JORI 3-D configurator, which enables customers to design and visualize their sofas, armchairs, recliners and other seating furniture in 3-D. Decorte developed the database with 3-D objects and relationships in Db2* on IBM i. All web services were created using RPG and SQL on IBM i. Decorte speaks at COMMON and other user groups, aiming to inspire developers to embrace new technologies. “It’s important to teach people new things so they continue to invest in the platform, and so they know it’s the right choice for the future.”


Shrirang “Ranga” Deshpande
President, COMMON Europe
A user and advocate of IBM i and Linux, Ranga Deshpande does volunteer work to advance the Power Systems and IBM i communities. His goal is to continue rebuilding the COMMON Europe user group with vision and passion. Deshpande is achieving this by organizing education and networking activities in international POWER* and IBM i communities, reinvigorating dormant user groups and involving graduate students in the aforementioned activities. He also participates in advisory councils for the platform’s continuous improvement, as well as enhancing the community through social media (@RangaDesh). “Business executives and personnel wish to focus on boosting their business. The strength of IBM i on Power Systems is their best guarantee, today and in the future,” says Deshpande. “It’s essential that Gen Z to Baby Boomers know and embrace it.”


Alan Fulton
Senior engineer, Platform Engineering, Fiserv Inc.
Alan Fulton designs, engineers and implements virtualized, high-performance solutions using some of the most advanced Power Systems hardware available. Fulton has seen the flexibility, performance and reliability of POWER—combined with robust tooling in virtualization—impact every facet of the industry. “The virtualization of multiple OSes on a single hardware platform cloud can provide some of the most efficient hardware utilization and cost savings ever seen,” he says. Fulton loves to spread the word about the Power Systems platform by teaching others. He speaks at technical conferences and stays active on social media (@The_Iron_Monger). “Twitter has become a great tool for me to share and gather information from everyone in the #NerdHerd.”


Cosimo Damiano Gianfreda
CTO, E4 Computer Engineering
Cosimo Gianfreda works for an Italian company specializing in new computing and storage technologies. As CTO, he meets with clients, evaluates their goals and vision, and helps them plan and define their technology needs. Under his leadership, E4 Computer Engineering developed D.A.V.I.D.E. (Development of an Added-Value Infrastructure Designed in Europe). “This OpenPOWER cluster delivers a petascale-class of performance, adopting a technology for reducing power consumption without impacting system-wide throughput,” he explains. Gianfreda spreads the word about Power Systems technology through public talks, content development and mentoring. He educates academic and industry leaders about the merits of the Power Systems platform, with the goal of helping them adopt IBM into their products and solutions.


Ron Gordon
Director, Power Systems, Mainline Information Systems
In his work supporting internal sales and technical staff, Ron Gordon spends countless hours with clients reviewing Power Systems technology and software. Gordon also blogs frequently and presents at user groups across the country to help keep clients up to date on the latest advancements His company helps Epic users in health, SAP and Oracle users in retail and distribution, and finance customers who are dealing with artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing POWER clusters and open-source databases, among other industry sectors. “In all of these verticals,” says Gordon, “The Power Systems platform is ideal for their mission-critical workloads due to the performance, reliability and best price performance.”


Bartlomiej Grabowski
Principal support specialist, DHL IT Services
Based in Prague, Bart Grabowski serves as an architect and principal specialist for DHL’s worldwide IT services. DHL runs 120 LPARs supporting business across the globe, including global accounting systems, warehouses, sorting facilities and other logistics-related activities. Grabowski designs systems and configurations to deliver the best possible solutions for business units running IBM i. Along with running his own IBM i blog, Grabowski is a gold IBM Redbooks author and speaks at various technical conferences. “Sharing the information is extremely important to run a successful environment,” he says. “If your environment runs more efficiently, you can deliver better service—and if you deliver better service, your company is more successful.”


Tom Huntington
Executive vice president, Technical Solutions, HelpSystems
Tom Huntington grows relationships with large organizations to ensure that his company’s solutions work with other major software and hardware vendors worldwide. He regularly presents on POWER topics that are top of mind for users, including cybersecurity, cloud computing, automated operations and business intelligence. He is also the author of the HelpSystems IBM i Marketplace Survey, an active blogger and a frequent contributor to many leading industry publications. “I have seen firsthand and am convinced of the unparalleled value that POWER brings to organizations in every industry around the world,” says Huntington. “There are many studies that prove its worth, including our own, but personal recommendations are often what we humans respond to best.”


Michael Kowolenko
Managing director, Institute of Next Generation Computing, North Carolina State University/research scholar, Department of Computer Science
Michael Kowolenko develops tooling and infrastructure for large-scale analytics. A Linux user, Kowolenko focuses on open-source analytical systems and infrastructure on the IBM POWER8*/ESS (Spectrum) backbone. “I demonstrate the utility of the platform to many third-party organizations that conduct industry-sponsored research with us.”


Andy Lin
Vice president of strategy, Mark III Systems/cofounder, BlueChasm
Andy Lin supports clients that run IBM i, AIX, and Linux on Power Systems. Lin believes the Power Systems platform, as well as others based on OpenPOWER technologies, are optimized for workloads that will define the next decade in technology. Lin works for Mark III, whose clients run business applications and workloads that range from traditional, core applications to newer, cloud-native applications. The company also operates a digital development company called BlueChasm, which offers AI-driven platforms that leverage Power Systems technology and its workload-optimized architecture. “I strongly feel that these systems will play a major role in solving many key human and societal issues over the next decade,” he says. “It’s vital that I play my role in ensuring that the ecosystem and the industry stay informed on how Power Systems can contribute to solving some of these problems.”


Jaqueline Lynch
Enterprise architect and AIX performance consultant, Jaqueline Lynch Consulting
Jaqueline Lynch works as an independent contractor providing services that include enterprise architecture, with a focus on Power Systems virtualization with AIX and Linux. Her strengths are in performance tuning, virtualization and security across a wide range of customer areas. Lynch writes articles for ibmsystemsmag.com, evangelizes to clients, speaks at conferences and user groups and more. “I educate clients on how to get the most out of the systems they are buying. It’s important that clients know all the capabilities and that POWER has a robust future, so they are reassured that it’s a great decision.”


Frédéric Magoulès
Professor, CentraleSupélec, Université Paris Saclay
Based in France, Frédéric Magoulès is an author, consultant and educator in the development of math models and computational methods on the Power Systems platform. As a professor at CentraleSupélec, he works at the interface between parallel computing and the numerical analysis of partial differential equations. He and his colleagues explore algorithms for multidisciplinary scientific and engineering problems. Magoulès likes to spread the word about the best way to use Power Systems by teaching others. “It’s important to remind people that not only are there alternatives to existing parallel algorithms—there are superior ones,” he says.


Kristian Milos
Senior technical consultant, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
Kristian Milos is a go-to expert for ANZ bank in Australia on all things related to POWER—including IBM PowerVM* and IBM PowerVC* virtualization layers, as well as AIX. Twitter (@Kristijan) is his main channel for spreading the word about Power Systems technology. “I find it’s a great tool to interact with people from all over the world. The short-form nature allows for direct and succinct conversation.”


Dmitry Mironov
Head of Power Systems Administration Group/vice president, Raiffeisenbank
Dmitry Mironov’s group is responsible for IT solutions based on AIX, IBM i and Linux. As an IT expert, he uses POWER technologies to keep the banking services available, secure and ready for challenges at all times. based in Moscow, Mironov enjoys seeing the positive results of investments in IBM systems. He also enjoys sharing his experience. That’s why, 10 years ago, he and his friends started the AIXPortal, a Russian-speaking Power Systems community. “Every new answered question, and every new IT usage improvement or optimization makes me happy,” Mironov says.


Brett Murphy
Client executive and executive architect, Ciber Global LLC
Brett Murphy provides consultation and solutions to clients in energy, industrial, healthcare, financial, retail and transportation sectors. He’s a self-described “PowerMan—a passionate evangelist for all things Power Systems.” Murphy takes every opportunity to share the value proposition to clients, no matter their OS. “IBM POWER is a viable alternative to the leading platform in the marketplace—Intel*. When I provide a solution, I’ve left the client better off and in a better overall posture to focus on their industry specialty.”


Richie Palma
Technical solutions consultant, Arbor Solutions Inc.
Richie Palma describes himself as “a millennial who loves the platform and is actively growing the next generation of IBM i talent.” As a consultant, he’s helped many clients move off legacy applications to IBM i 7.3 on IBM POWER8. Palma founded Midrange Meetup in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serves on the strategic education team for COMMON and the steering committee for Young i Professionals. He regularly speaks at conferences and user group meetings, and he’s active on social media. “With a background and passion for lean manufacturing, my mind is wired to seek the most efficient means toward producing a desired result,” says Palma. “I believe Power Systems—and especially IBM i—is the most efficient compute platform for business.”


Jon Paris
Partner, Partner400
Jon Paris’ IBM midrange career started when he fell in love with the System/38 while working as a consultant. This led him to joining IBM, where he worked for more than a decade. He left in the late 1990s to develop and provide education focused on IBM i application development skills. Through his conference company, System i Developer, Paris and his colleagues run two RPG & DB2 Summit conferences per year. He also speaks at user groups and participates in online forums related to IBM i application development. “I spread the word about IBM i and the hardware it runs on,” says Paris. “Too many companies have mistakenly been led to believe that the system is old and not up to present-day tasks. My mission in life is to prove them wrong.”


Kody Robinson
Business and financial system developer II, Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation
An avid user of IBM i, Kody Robinson develops the software that runs the accounting, inventory and work orders at Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. “IBM i powers our financial systems for both companies that we supply applications to,” he explains. “We incorporate anything from RPG to PHP and web programs for our internal clients.” To spread the word about the platform, he speaks at conferences, uses social media and tries to teach others when he can. “The Power Systems platform can power anything and it’s so robust and modern. It’s our job as Champions to advocate for the platform and show people why we think it’s the best.”


Alan Seiden
Principal, Seiden Group
Alan Seiden leads a team that designs and develops modern web and mobile applications for IBM i and other platforms. His specialty is combining open-source technology, such as PHP, with traditional IBM i programs and resources, and giving advice to CIOs on efficient modernization. To promote Power Systems technology, Seiden participates in conferences, hosts free CIO Summit events, writes articles and produces videos. “We also founded the Club Seiden technical forum, host and contribute to IBM i open-source projects, produce monthly tips, and work with IBM and other companies to help create a bright future for professionals working on IBM i and Power Systems.”


Shawn Stephens
Product marketing manager, SIS
Shawn Stephens has been around IBM POWER since the early days of RS/6000s. He loves to share “the journey of RS/6000 to pSeries to System p to IBM POWER4* through IBM POWER9*” whenever he gets the opportunity. “The evolution of the IBM Power Systems platform has been a wonderful story that’s far from over,” he says. “New and emerging markets are now opening up fantastic new opportunities for growth.” Stephens believes that the POWER9 processor is coming at an opportune moment. “With so many emerging markets converging together like cloud, analytics, cognitive computing and AI, and high-performance computing, there are more ways to position and sell the Power Systems platform than we have ever seen at one time.”


Christopher Sullivan
Assistant director for biocomputing, Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Oregon State University
Christopher Sullivan manages all biocomputing resources and staff supporting 26 research departments at Oregon State University. He previously used AIX and currently uses Linux on POWER. Sullivan uses S822LC servers to process all that research data. “We currently have over 2,000 programs compiled and running on the POWER8 processors within this infrastructure,” he says. “Users can submit jobs that can run on different architectures pulling different binaries without users knowing.” Working with IBM, he and his team also created a GPU/POWER8* development environment for users to test and build code with access to NVIDIA P100 GPUs. “I use the IBM POWER8 and POWER9 platforms as the platinum standard, currently under which other CPU manufacturers need to come up and meet.”


Laura Ubelhor
President, Consultech Services
Laura Ubelhor is the president of Consultech Services. Her company was founded in 1992 to provide application development and support to organizations running on IBM i. Ubelhor is an active volunteer and serves as group president within her local IBM i user group. She also serves as secretary for the COMMON Education Foundation. “The Power Systems platform provides value-added, modern solutions for many organizations to run and support business activities,” she says. “Volunteer efforts and community members actively spreading the word goes a long way to enhance awareness of what the Power Systems platform has to offer.”


Carol Woodbury
Vice president, Global Security Services, HelpSystems
In her work with HelpSystems, a services organization, Carol Woodbury covers all industries. From casinos to insurance and healthcare to finance, she helps improve the security of her clients’ servers and overall systems. Woodbury uses a combination of IBM i, AIX and Linux OSes. “I’m a huge proponent of implementing ‘defense in depth,’ ” she says. That means she uses every security feature possible to reduce risk to the data residing on the servers. In addition to consulting, Woodbury provides educational sessions, primarily for the IBM i community, via webinars, two-day “deep dives,” speaking at user groups and writing articles to spread the word on the securability of the platform.

Eve Daniels is a Minneapolis-based freelance writer.


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